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Julius

Football Season 2021/22

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Well, with the season curtain raiser in England being played yesterday ending in Leicester winning the Community Shield for the first time in 50 years over Manchester City, figured it was time to start the new season thread. 

In terms of the transfer market, we had the Premier League transfer record broken the other day by Grealish's £100 million move to Manchester City, and there are lots of reports going around that it will soon be broken again, with Chelsea in for Lukaku. And then there was the possibility of it being broken a third time by City going for Kane this window, but quite hilariously, that move seems to have collapsed in on itself.

What moves does everyone want to see for their teams, and what are people's expectations for their teams going into this season? I think a Lukaku redemption arc with us would be great to see, especially after Werner's unfortunate showings over the last 12 months -- think he seriously lacks some confidence, but thanks to Tuchel's frequent rotation of the squad, hopefully he'll gain that back sooner rather than later. I'd like to see us challenge for the title for the first time in a good while, and it would be nice if we could start our season off right with a Super Cup win on Wednesday. 

Abroad, PSG have been busy building a monstrous side, getting Wijnaldum, Ramos, and Donnarumma all on free transfers, as well as bringing in Hakimi from Inter. But the only reason I really bring them up is because Messi's leaving Barcelona, and Paris seems like the only place he'll end up. And on a free. Crazy. 

For anyone who missed his tearful farewell to Barça:

It's hard to not feel something see someone leave a club that they only wanted to stay at. Even if he signed on a €0 contract, Barça's finances are that poor that they'd still be unable to register him. 

I can't remember a time where I enjoyed football before Messi donned a Barcelona shirt, he's always been there number 10 for me. When I went to Camp Nou nearly a decade ago now, finding so much of the tour at that point - before, when plenty of records he has since broken were still standing - already dedicated to him, his boots, his shirts...it felt special. It's a travesty that he'll be leaving on anything but his own terms, heightened only by the fact that he hasn't had the chance to say a proper goodbye to fans. 

But life goes on. This next season is almost certainly going to be a strange one. 

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Posted (edited)

Everyone and their mother has confirmed Messi's transfer to PSG today (Fabrizio Romano, then Balague, then Jorge Messi, then we saw him at the Barcelona airport and Neymar's Instagram update) but finally PSG have put something official out after he arrived in Paris. Medical scheduled for either later today or tomorrow. 

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This is so bizarre. Wonder what number he'll get seeing as he wants to leave Neymar with the 10. His old number 19 is taken by Sarabia if I'm remembering right, so maybe his older number 30 (also, L30 for branding writes itself)? But then I can't remember if that's saved exclusively for goalkeepers in France. His shirt is between Neymar's 10 and Mbappé's 7 in the promo...so maybe 17 if he can't have 30? 

Edited by Julius

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I didn't really think that he would but it would have been awesome to see Messi come to the Premier League. 

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1 hour ago, Julius said:

 Wonder what number he'll get seeing as he wants to leave Neymar with the 10. His old number 19 is taken by Sarabia if I'm remembering right, so maybe his older number 30 (also, L30 for branding writes itself)? But then I can't remember if that's saved exclusively for goalkeepers in France. His shirt is between Neymar's 10 and Mbappé's 7 in the promo...so maybe 17 if he can't have 30? 

Can he elevate PSG from 2nd to 1st in Ligue 1? :indeed: Will Ramos crunch him day one in training? 

See, I can do numbers too. :p 

34 minutes ago, Happenstance said:

I didn't really think that he would but it would have been awesome to see Messi come to the Premier League. 

No Stoke so no challenge. 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Julius said:

so maybe his older number 30 (also, L30 for branding writes itself)? But then I can't remember if that's saved exclusively for goalkeepers in France.

Well, there it is:

Feels very strange. But more importantly, those shorts are hideous, they look like they belong on a basketball court! 

There's also this going around...

Basically, apparently Messi's contract stipulates that Argentina competitive and friendly matches will take precedence over PSG matches. The Argentina staff will also be allowed access to PSG's facilities (Neymar and Marquinhos better not drink their water :p). 

Not too crazy considering Neymar was handed a private jet to fly back to Brazil whenever he wants, but think it just shows that Messi is prioritising the World Cup - surely his final one? - at the end of next year above all else. There are surely a bunch of reasons he chose PSG - the pay, rumoured to be €25 million net per season net before bonuses after a €25 million signing fee; playing with Neymar again; having a great shot at another Champions League win - but I wonder if playing in a "easier" league than, say, the Premier League to help steer clear of injuries before the World Cup was also on his mind. Let's just hope we don't see any stupid refereeing and tackling when it comes to him as we've seen with Neymar. 

Tempted to watch PSG's match this weekend, assuming he makes his debut, but I do imagine there's a bit of paperwork to get through, and I think he's been resting since winning the Copa América so won't be fully fit, so maybe we won't see much of him. 

Just begging Ronaldo to run down his Juve contract and join up with him next summer. It needs to happen, especially if Mbappé goes to Real next year! :D

EDIT:

And it's official. 

The music is hilariously dramatic :laughing:

Edited by Julius

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Well, there it is:
Feels very strange. But more importantly, those shorts are hideous, they look like they belong on a basketball court! 



Isn't PSGs kit designed by Michael Jordan's company? Maybe that's why!

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, bob said:

Isn't PSGs kit designed by Michael Jordan's company? Maybe that's why!

Yeah, you're right, Air Jordan have been doing stuff with PSG since 2018 I think for their Champions League kits as an extension of their Nike deal, and I think this is the first time Air Jordan have done the home kit too, so yeah, agree that's probably why! 

Got the same stuff going on with the cuffs and collar too...I still kind of hate it :laughing: maybe even more so because it longer has the Hechter stripe going down the middle of their home kit for the first time in a while, at least that I can remember? 

It's been bizarre seeing Air Jordan turn up on PSG kits over the last few years to be honest, but they've made massive inroads I read as a fashion brand while the club has been expanding its US fanbase, so it seems to be working for them -- they've even started bringing in fourth kits mid-season just to flex their creativity a little more and sell more merch.

Last season's bordeaux third kit is probably my favourite of theirs so far. 

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I do wonder how long it's going to be before we see other luxury / sports brands come in to design kits for these clubs, potentially alongside a sportswear manufacturer; I know Air Jordan was only possible because it's a Nike offshoot, but you've got to imagine other clubs are looking at this and thinking about what they could do given that there's clearly an appetite for it! I believe Napoli have an Armani collaboration coming up in one of their kits this coming season, so it'll be interesting to see how that turns out. 

Edited by Julius

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The Messi situation is very distasteful to me. Yes, the player is one of the greats, there's no arguing with that. However, he's jumping/being pushed/whatever from a Spanish team that has enjoyed many (illegal) benefits from the Spanish government to a French team that is funded by the Qataris. It seems to be that in order to get ahead in football these days, you need to be backed by a state.

Of course, millions of fans will flock to PSG now because the modern day fan follows the player, rather than the team. 

I'm hoping football just folds in own itself and we start to see more of a drive towards academy players or youth prospects. It's just become silly and is growing further and further out of touch. What we now have is real life Ultimate Team in PSG. 

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

The Messi situation is very distasteful to me. Yes, the player is one of the greats, there's no arguing with that. However, he's jumping/being pushed/whatever from a Spanish team that has enjoyed many (illegal) benefits from the Spanish government to a French team that is funded by the Qataris. It seems to be that in order to get ahead in football these days, you need to be backed by a state.

Of course, millions of fans will flock to PSG now because the modern day fan follows the player, rather than the team. 

I'm hoping football just folds in own itself and we start to see more of a drive towards academy players or youth prospects. It's just become silly and is growing further and further out of touch. What we now have is real life Ultimate Team in PSG. 

It's tough because I'm really not sure where else he was meant to go without taking a serious cut to his pay, and it's not like he wanted to leave in the first place. The only realistic alternative to PSG was always City (like that's any different in terms of corruption), with Pep, their playing style, and familiar names like Txiki at the club, but I think that was over before it started this time around just because of signing Grealish and giving him the number 10 just as this broke out, otherwise I think it would have been more of a competition. And taken in isolation, the move is an absolute steal, especially when the move last summer when Messi wanted to leave would have involved more competition and a package reportedly worth €500 million. It was said then that it would have been a smart thing for Barça to do given their financial shape at the time...but Barto was going to Barto. Still genuinely can't believe that guy's alive after how much he messed the club around. 

Juve are bust and have already shown what happens when you get a superstar but don't make a good team, Inter are broke and disbanding their title-winning squad, Bayern have zero interest in a big money move like this (I think if Ronaldo wants to win all the major European leagues he'll at some point take a big pay cut just to walk to a Bundesliga with them after potentially going to PSG next summer), a move to Real Madrid would have legitimately started a civil war (and apparently Atletico gave him a call?), and Spurs cheekily apparently trying to see if Messi was interested in winning the first Europa Conference League is downright hilarious. Like Levy would sanction anything of the sort. 

I do find it hilarious that the Qataris were apparently on edge at the prospect of Abramovich coming in and swooping Messi from right under them, though - always beware the Russians I guess? - but I think his adoration of that style of play, Guardiola, and Messi all died once and for all after he'd had Sarri at the club. 

I do think it's really telling that outside of Rummenigge at Bayern, everyone else has kept their lips tightly sealed on this transfer. Remember when Neymar was going to PSG (because Barça stupidly agreed to a release clause), when Tebas and Ceferin started kicking off? Where's that this time around? He's now the poster boy of a serious UCL contender - they were already serious contenders after this summer with the other moves they'd made - and the Qatar World Cup too. Let's not forget that it's their 10th anniversary of ownership this year too. 

There's just so much irony around the move too, didn't the Qataris originally state after taking over the club that they didn't need to buy a Messi, and would find the next Messi? Or something to that effect. So weird. 

Unfortunately you're right about football fans flocking to PSG. I had a friend who legitimately started supporting them in high school at the time of the buyout back in 2011, but their growth has been exponential, on and off the pitch, obviously because of the money being pumped in, and I'm sure he couldn't be happier about this move. I think every football fan looks at this and wish he was joining their club, but I'll never understand following just one player around. Then again, how many fans did Michael Jordan bring into the NBA? 

It's tough because while you do want to see academy prospects coming through - still think it was shortsighted for Lampard to be sacked considering how good a job he was doing at integrating younger players, but we've won a Champions League since, so it's hard to complain - at the end of the day it's a competitive sport and the expectation is for there to be competitive teams. I just think there has to be more done when these wealthy owners come in to stop them from either taking advantage of the club (how many owners in Milan over the last decade? Or Mike Ashley at Newcastle?) or tampering with the books to pull off absurd moves like this (City, PSG). Sure some people will see the irony of me saying this as a Chelsea fan, but we've been lucky I think in that Abramovich actually seems to love football, and in the last 5 years or so we've pivoted to being a legitimately sustainable club in terms of our player sales. 

Anyways, one last thing that needs to be highlighted from this move was Al-Khelaifi calling out Mbappé for his nonsense about wanting a stronger team. 

Quote

Mbappé is a player from Paris, we know his future. He said he wanted a competitive team, you can't have a more competitive one. He has no excuses to do anything other than stay. 

Now he has to come out and say he wants to be the main man and go to Madrid. That'll be fun to see :D

Edited by Julius

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Well, we finally won the Super Cup at the fourth attempt in the last decade, and in our third penalty shootout of those. The Club World Cup is the only major trophy I've yet to see us pick up, so fingers crossed for December! 

Shame about Ziyech, he's been great in preseason, but man that decision to sub Kepa on for penalties really paid off. Honestly feel like more managers should follow the stats when it comes to penalties and be ready to throw their GK that's better at them on. 

Roll on Saturday :D

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Very satisfying. Completely trashed Leeds, who are lucky we didn't put 10 past them the way we played today. Bruno and Pogba were just unreal. The unveiling of Varane before the game was also just absolutely fucking awesome. What a day. Wish I had Groundhog Day-syndrome so that I could experience this over and over again. 

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Posted (edited)

Not sure how closely people have been following the transfer news today...but it's been nuts. 

Mbappé has been on the brink of an audacious move to Real for a few days, PSG are probably going to accept somewhere between €180m and €200m for him, but seem to be lining up a move for his replacement or a striker before they'll let him go. Reminder: he could go on a free at the end of this season, and he's going to potentially be the second (and the third) most expensive signing in history should the move go through. 

Ronaldo has seemingly been City bound for a few days as he craves another UCL, things heated up this afternoon as he boarded his private jet in Turin after Allegri confirmed he wanted to leave...but the move has seemingly all but collapsed, and now he's all but confirmed to be returning to the other, red side of Manchester.

Didn't seem like City's transfer board were all-in on the move - didn't fit their age profile or playing style. And you can almost guarantee that a call from Sir Alex was involved. Crazy that City may have missed out on both Messi and Ronaldo in the same window, AND didn't get Kane or any other of their striker choices, with just a few days to go. Reports are all over the place, some saying it's a €25m to €30m move, others saying it'll be something like €15m + €8m in add-ons. Seems like he might be taking a noticeable pay cut to come back to England too (still potentially on something like £270k a week, mind you). 

This is easily the craziest transfer window ever. Maradona is up there flying high as a kite and playing Twister with this summer's transfer window. 

EDIT: aaaaaaand it's official

Edited by Julius

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Will Cavani let him take the no.7 shirt though? I can't imagine Ronaldo wanting to give up the CR7 branding, CR12 (or whatever) doesn't have the same appeal 

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4 minutes ago, killthenet said:

Will Cavani let him take the no.7 shirt though? I can't imagine Ronaldo wanting to give up the CR7 branding, CR12 (or whatever) doesn't have the same appeal 

I think Cavani will have offered it to him to be honest. He knows the significance of United to Ronaldo and vice versa. 

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Man City or PSG would have been a more entertaining move. He'll probably lose the League Cup final and Europa Cup final with Man Utd. And come 4th in the league.

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Today's result and performance are both the worst I have ever seen. The performance was embarrassing. Couldn't defend, couldn't pass, couldn't tackle, couldn't find a system, couldn't stick to the system, couldn't discipline ourselves, couldn't motivate and couldn't inspire. It was abysmal. Very unprofessional. 

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19 hours ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

Today's result and performance are both the worst I have ever seen. The performance was embarrassing. Couldn't defend, couldn't pass, couldn't tackle, couldn't find a system, couldn't stick to the system, couldn't discipline ourselves, couldn't motivate and couldn't inspire. It was abysmal. Very unprofessional. 

I enjoyed every second 🤣

My only disappointment was that we didn't go for the kill in the last half hour and make it a complete humiliation!

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Well there goes Solskjaer. Surprised it didn’t happen sooner to be honest. I’ll miss him though, whoever they bring in to replace him might end up being competent.

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Carrick has a rough few games coming up to act as interim.

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